Memory - Encoding

Emily Chandran - Ciara Geoghegan - Emily Elia

Information Processing

Working Memory: a newer understanding of short-term memory that focuses on conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information, and of information retrieved from long-term memory

Automatic Encoding

parallel processing vs. automatic processing:

  • parallel processing: doing many things at once
  • automatic processing: doing things without conscious effort

Effortful Encoding

effortful processing: encoding that requires attention and conscious effort

rehearsal: the conscious repetition of information

spacing effect: the tendency for distributed study or practice to yeild better long-term retention than is achieved through massed study or practice

serial position effect: our tendency to recall best the last and first terms of a list

Levels of Processing

visual encoding: encoding of picture images

acoustic encoding: the encoding of sound, especially the sound of words

semantic encoding: the encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words

Memory Aids

mnemonics: memory aids, especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and organizational devices

chunking: organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically

hierarchies: organizing technique that divides broad subjects into more narrow and specific concepts and facts

Ebbinghaus Retention Curve: The more time one spends committing something to memory, the more durable the memory will be.

Notable Psychologists

Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909)

  • German philosopher
  • researched verbal memory
  • proved that rehearsal (the conscious repetition of information) boosts memory
  • discovered that the spacing effect (distributed practice of memorization and study time) yields better long-term retention than massed practice

Craik and Tulving 

  • proved that semantic encoding yields better memory than shallow processing

Video on Ebbinghaus's Experiment:

Video on Levels of Processing:


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